Dealer Chats | Andy Shield of Brave Fine Art
Describe your style in no more than 25 words!
At Brave, we track down decorative paintings that capture the imagination. The ones that stop you in your tracks and start conversations.
How long have you been in the antiques trade for and what other jobs have you had?
I’ve been working in and around the trade for four years. Previously I worked in digital technology for seven years.
What plans do you have for your business in 2021 post Covid?
I’m very excited about 2021! We’re expanding by hiring two members of staff - Gemma and James who are both brilliant. And then in February, we’re opening our first gallery in the heart of Great Malvern. Alongside our antique collection, we’ll also be running exhibitions for contemporary art around certain themes. The first will be focused on ‘Rebirth’ and feature Sky’s Landscape Artist Of The Year, Jen Gash.
HAROLD LAPHAM, WORN PORTRAIT OF A LADY. £1,295
What have you learned / what new skills have you picked up? Has it made you look more at how you sell online and have you improved in certain areas?
It’s been such a horrible year for everyone and I’ll be glad to see the back of it. We’ve stayed fairly consistent throughout 2020, but I guess I’m now buying a little differently as it’s been harder to source. More dealers are now using online auctions so the competition is fiercer than it’s ever been.
Marketplaces are a vital part of the trade but never more so than in 2020 - how does DC support your business model?
The DC is so different from other marketplaces because it creates introductions that last a lifetime and extend beyond a single transaction. It also has hundreds of users that trust it implicitly.
Virtual fairs are now taking place across all levels of the industry and dealer showroom 360 videos are now offered to dealers on DC – have you been surprised to see how quickly the trade and the buyers have adapted to this new tech?
Yes, this is great technology particularly for the dealers who have such impressive showrooms. Decorative antiques always look better in context - surrounded by other beautiful pieces.
PAUL HASLBAUER, FARMYARD SCENE WITH CHICKENS
We have all missed our favourite fairs this year. Are fairs part of your business and do you exhibit at a variety with different stock or prefer to stay with one style of fair to develop brand awareness?
I must admit that I haven’t exhibited at fairs because the website generally performs quite well. I do love to visit them though and occasionally source from the Malvern Flea, which is nearby.
How relevant do you think bricks and mortar premises will be in 2021?
This is a fascinating question because everything is in such a state of flux. I asked our Instagram followers about whether opening a bricks and mortar gallery was a sensible idea - the decision was split 55/45 in favour of it. The high street is changing and there’s no way back to what it was. However, I’m seeing a boom in new businesses that are starting online and then branching out into a ‘real’ shop. In the past, it was the other way around - e.g. a business would have a shop and then create a website.
So long story short, I feel that the high street has a lot to offer and I’m excited about what this new generation of shop/gallery owners will bring to it. We can’t all stay at home forever!
Tell us what your fantasy freedom buying trip would look like in 2021..
Goodness, now there’s a thought. If this is complete fantasy then I’d start in Paris at the Louvre Museum before heading down to Rome and then on to Venice. Perhaps return with a portrait by Leonardo, a Paolo Veronese and a couple of Caravaggios (one under each arm as you do). Oh and I almost forgot Denmark, whereby I’d track down a dozen interior scenes by Vilhelm Hammershøi. I’m not asking for much am I?!
MAURICE EHLINGER, STILL LIFE WITH CHRYSANTHEMUMS